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Beyond the Bale : December 2018
56 ON FARM Merino Sire Evaluation was first established in 1989 to provide an independent comparison of the breeding performance of rams by evaluating their progeny relative to the progeny of other sires and in particular, link sires. Thirty years later, the program evaluates progeny run across the 10 current sites under consistent protocols for a large number of traits that are important to commercial producers. The results are used by ram breeders to benchmark their genetics and by ram breeders and buyers alike to assist them select the genetics that are going to add the most profit to their enterprises. SITES AND LINK SIRES Sire evaluation sites are located throughout the major wool-growing regions of Australia with between 12 and 20 sires entered at each site. Sires are joined to ewes via artificial insemination (AI). Link sires are used at all sites to allow sires entered at different sites and in different years to be compared by removing the differences between sites, years and seasons, leaving only the genetics to be evaluated via the progeny. The largest joining in the history of Merino Sire Evaluation took place in 2017 both in terms of the number of sires and the number of sites. One hundred and thirty-one sires were joined across nine sites with 19 new studs contributing 15% of sires. This record number of joinings coincided with 14,795 downloads of Site Reports in 2017, indicating a strong level of interest in sire evaluation results. This builds upon important developments in sire evaluation, first among which was the recent AMSEA Historical Sire analysis. MERINO SIRE EVALUATION EXPLAINED Sire evaluation classing, September 2018, NSW DPI Trangie. 2018 drop sire evaluation MLP project F1 progeny, NSW DPI Trangie. 2017 drop sire evaluation MLP project F1 ewes, NSW DPI Trangie. PROGENY Evaluation of a sire’s progeny is the key to sire evaluation. Progeny are managed together under the same conditions throughout the period of the trial, with the exception that single and twin bearing ewes can be separated prior to lambing and managed accordingly up until weaning. Ewe and wether progeny can also be managed separately. All progeny are evaluated with no culling, except for welfare purposes. EWES The ewes at each site are selected on the basis of offering an even, classed line that is representative of sheep typically run in that environment. An equal number of ewes are joined through AI to each sire. The minimum number of ewes joined to each sire is 50, with some sites choosing to join more.
In the Shops - March 2019